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True or false: Using honey in coffee instead of sugar is an easy healthy hack

Well+Good interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, for a story about the health effects of honey contrasted with other sugars.

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Thursday, May 2, 2019
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There may be lively debates about whether putting butter in your coffee is healthy or not, but virtually everyone is in agreement that sugar in your morning brew isn’t great for you.

However, it’s hard to go from being a sweetened coffee lover to “just black, please” just because you know sugar isn’t healthy. Which is where alternative natural sweeteners like honey come in. In theory, putting honey in coffee sounds a heck of a lot better than something artificial. To find out how healthy it actually is, I asked the senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, Dana Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, to weigh in.

While having honey in coffee may sound healthier than adding straight sugar, Dr. Hunnes isn’t convinced that it’s a more nutritious choice. “It still breaks down into sugar,” Dr. Hunnes says. “Honey does have a healthier ‘air’ to it than other sugars, but in the end, it still affects blood sugar in a similar way as sugar would.” One tablespoon of honey has 17 grams of sugar and 64 calories. Compare that to a tablespoon of granulated sugar, which has 13 grams of sugar and 49 calories. Surprised?

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